Ralph Lauren Taps P&G Executive as CEO -- 2nd Update

By Bowdeya Tweh Features Dow Jones Newswires

Ralph Lauren Corp. is taking another chance on bringing in an outsider to run the company, this time tapping Procter & Gamble Co.'s top beauty executive to be its next chief.

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The company said Wednesday that Patrice Louvet will become president and chief executive officer on July 17. He is also joining the company's board and will report to executive chairman and founder Ralph Lauren.

Mr. Louvet, 52 years old, is the second external pick to lead the company after Mr. Lauren stepped aside as chief executive in 2015. The designer-founder, whose family remains the company's largest shareholder, maintained titles as executive chairman and chief creative officer.

Stefan Larsson, who had been named Mr. Lauren's successor after spending time at Gap Inc. and Hennes & Mauritz AB, left the company after less than two years at the helm after clashes with Mr. Lauren over creative control. Mr. Lauren founded the fashion label in 1967.

Mr. Louvet is group president of global beauty at P&G, a division with brands such as Head & Shoulders, Olay and Old Spice. The company's 12 brands generated about $11.5 billion in revenue in 2016.

Mr. Louvet, a 28-year P&G veteran, had been among the executives seen as a potential successor to Chief Executive David Taylor. Born in St. Cloud, France, Mr. Louvet spent many years managing beauty and hair-care brands until becoming president of global shave care, one of P&G's core divisions, in 2011. He took over P&G's beauty business in 2015 shortly before the company sold a big chunk of the portfolio to Coty for $11.6 billion.

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The sale left Mr. Louvet in charge of a much smaller business that includes brands such as Olay, Pantene and Sk-II. The division has continued to struggle amid sluggish overall sales at P&G. Olay and other mass-market brands have lagged while SK-II cosmetics, one of the company's few remaining luxury brands, is one of the company's bright spots.

At Ralph Lauren, Mr. Louvet will earn a base salary of $1.25 million, according to a company filing. He will also receive annual equity awards in addition to performance-based bonuses and other benefits.

"He's an enormously skilled business leader with a deep passion for the consumer and a sophisticated understanding of building global brands," Mr. Lauren said in a statement.

The new CEO announcement comes one day before the company is slated to report its fourth quarter and full-year financial results. Analysts expect the company to report a quarterly decline in adjusted earnings and a 17% fall in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Mr. Louvet will take the reins at Ralph Lauren one year after the announcement of a plan aimed at cutting costs by closing underperforming stores, reducing staff to help streamline the organization and increasing its speed in bringing products to market.

Earlier this year, the company said the plan has resulted in about $400 million of restructuring charges and $150 million of inventory write-downs and severance payments to Mr. Larsson.

Shares of Ralph Lauren declined 3% to $71.74 in early trading.

Sharon Terlep contributed to this article

Write to Bowdeya Tweh at Bowdeya.Tweh@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 17, 2017 10:38 ET (14:38 GMT)